Cannavaro in 2011
|Full name||Fabio Cannavaro|
|Date of birth||13 September 1973|
|Place of birth||Naples, Italy|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Fabio Cannavaro, Ufficiale OMRI (born 13 September 1973) is a former Italian footballer. He is considered one of the greatest defenders of his generation and was given the name "Muro di Berlino," which means "The Berlin Wall," by Italian supporters. He spent the majority of his career in Italy. He started his career at Napoli, before spending seven years at Parma, with whom he won two Coppa Italias and the 1999 UEFA Cup. After spells at Internazionale and Juventus, Cannavaro transferred along with manager Fabio Capello from Juventus to Real Madrid, with whom he won consecutive La Liga titles in 2007 and 2008. After returning to Juventus for one season in 2009–10, he joined Al-Ahli in Dubai. He retired from professional football in 2011 due to an injury troubled season in Al-Ahli.
Cannavaro has also achieved success with the Italian national team. He was part of the Italy team that won consecutive Under-21 European Championships in 1994 and 1996. After earning his first senior cap in 1997, he eventually became captain. Cannavaro led Italy to victory in the 2006 World Cup, and in 2009 overtook Paolo Maldini as the most capped player in the country's history. He announced his retirement from international football on 25 June 2010 following Italy's failure to qualify for the knock-out stages of the 2010 World Cup, having amassed 136 caps and scored two goals for the senior national team.
He won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2006, making him only the second defender to win the award alongside Lothar Matthäus, he is however oldest recipient. His Real Madrid profile describes him as being known for his strength, anticipation of the cross, positioning and aerial game. Cannavaro's younger brother Paolo is also a professional footballer, playing for Italian side Napoli.
Club career 
Early career 
Cannavaro was born in Naples to Gelsomina Costanzo and Pasquale Cannavaro. His mother worked as a maid, while his father was a bank clerk; his father also played football for provincial side Giugliano. He has an elder sister named Renata, who was married at the age of 15. He also has a younger brother named Paolo, who plays football as well. As a youngster, Cannavaro played for a team from Bagnoli before being quickly spotted by the scouts of Napoli, his childhood team.
Cannavaro initially served as the club's ball boy and would often watch his idols Diego Maradona and Ciro Ferrara play. He gained a reputation when, in a training session at Napoli, the young Fabio produced a strong tackle on Maradona, who was then the undisputed star of the club. The rough challenge angered teammates and staff at Napoli; Maradona himself, however, defended the promising player and encouraged him to play the way he wanted.
His progress as a player was such that he soon became a member of the first team alongside some of his childhood idols. Cannavaro's debut in Serie A came on 7 March 1993 in Turin for a game against Juventus. The post-Maradona Napoli were in desperate need of funds and were soon forced to sell Cannavaro to Parma, where Cannavaro won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia, and was named the Serie A Defender of the Year. Cannavaro remained at Napoli until 1995, earning nearly 60 total appearances with one goal.
Cannavaro was sold to Parma in the summer of 1995 and in his first season, he was instantly a regular in the first team, scoring once in 29 appearances in the league. He would go on not only to win the UEFA Cup and the Coppa Italia with Parma, but he also had several personal accomplishments. It was also in Parma that he met Gianluigi Buffon and Lilian Thuram, who would not only form one of the tightest defensive units of Europe with Cannavaro but would also become some of his closest friends in football. Further players featuring in this legendary Parma backline were Luigi Sartor, Roberto Mussi and the Argentine Néstor Sensini.
As from 1997, he began to earn call-ups to the national team's senior squad and was consistently one of the best defenders in Serie A, which led to a €23 million transfer to Internazionale in 2002, following over 250 total appearances for the club with five goals.
In the summer of 2002, Cannavaro joined Internazionale for a fee citation needed]. At the time, Inter had just lost a Serie A title in dramatic circumstances to Juventus and were in the process of rebuilding following four barren years and the departure of star striker Ronaldo. Along with Francesco Coco and his former Parma teammate Hernán Crespo, Cannavaro was supposed to be one of the faces of a new-look Inter led by Héctor Cúper.[
During his spell with the club, however, they mostly flattered to deceive. He reached the semi-finals of the 2002–03 Champions League and also finished runners-up in Serie A to Juventus. His second season was not as productive and he missed a large chunk of it through injury. After two years with the club, he was sold to Juventus in a surprising part-exchange deal, after just over 50 appearances and two goals. After he left Italy, Cannavaro often spoke negatively of his spell at Internazionale, comparing the Milan club unfavourably with his other Italian clubs, Parma and Juventus.
After a two-year stint, he signed for Juventus on the summer transfer window deadline day. The deal also involved the exchange of reserve goalkeeper, Fabian Carini who left for Inter, both players priced €10 million. By coming to Turin, he reunited with his ex-Parma teammates Lilian Thuram and Gianluigi Buffon, and together the threesome formed one of the most feared defences in the Serie A, along with the likes of Gianluca Zambrotta, Gianluca Pessotto, Alessandro Birindelli, Jonathan Zebina, and Federico Balzaretti. They went on to win two consecutive Scudetti in 2005 and 2006. In the former season, he was also paired with club icons Paolo Montero and Ciro Ferrara. Cannavaro also won one Oscar del Calcio: Migliore difensore, the Football Oscar, for his exceptional debut season at the Turin giants.
After the 2006 World Cup, the Calciopoli trial verdicts relegated Juventus to Serie B. Since Juventus were ineligible to qualify for the Champions League, Cannavaro decided to leave. "Even if I know this may be hard to believe, I would have stayed at Juventus had they remained in Serie A – even with a 30-point deduction." He followed Juve manager Fabio Capello to Real Madrid in the summer of 2006. In his two-year Scudetto-winning stint with Juventus, Cannavaro racked up over 100 total appearances in all competitions. His transfer was met with disappointment from the Juventus fans, who had accepted him as one of their own.
Real Madrid 
In Real Madrid, Cannavaro was given the No. 5 shirt that was previously worn by former Madrid player and French international Zinedine Zidane. Madrid paid €7 million for the player. Cannavaro spent three seasons at Madrid, winning the La Liga title in 2006–07 and 2007–08, and was named the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year during his time with Juventus and Real Madrid combined.
It was also during his time in Madrid that Cannavaro's decline began to be exposed, especially in the 2008–09 season. He was often seen struggling when faced with pacy opponents such as Lionel Messi and Fernando Torres, leading to Real Madrid conceding a lot of goals. On 19 May 2009, it was confirmed that Cannavaro would return to Juventus for the 2009–10 season on the expiration of his contract with Real Madrid.
Return to Juventus 
Three years after Cannavaro opted to leave the Italian giants, he decided to return to the club in the summer of 2009, following the expiration of his contract with Real Madrid. Cannavaro started the new season very well, forming defensive partnerships with Nicola Legrottaglie, Martín Cáceres, Zdeněk Grygera, Fabio Grosso, and most notably Giorgio Chiellini, in front of Gianluigi Buffon.
Despite the good start to the season for Juve on all fronts, their season soon took a turn for the worse as from Autumn. Cannavaro was no stranger to that declining form. Having been injured for a while in late 2009, he struggled for form on his comeback. In March 2010, his relationship with the Juventus supporters, which had already been made fragile by his perceived betrayal of the club when he left for Real Madrid, reached an all-time low. In a Europa League tie against Fulham, Juventus, who had won the first leg 3–1 at home, were leading 1–0 at Craven Cottage in London. Early in the first half, however, Cannavaro accumulated two bookings for reckless challenges and was sent off. Reduced to 10 men, Juventus collapsed to a 4–1 loss and crashed to elimination on aggregate. Cannavaro enraged supporters with his sending-off and his role in this humiliating elimination.
The club finished its league season with only a Europa League place, its worst Serie A finish for a decade. Juventus confirmed that Cannavaro wouldn't renew. His performances had become so unreliable that his hometown club Napoli made no effort to sign him, in spite of Cannavaro expressing his wish to rejoin the club on several occasions. He even became a joke among Neapolitan fans who would say that his younger brother Paolo was a more gifted player, but had enjoyed less luck with his career.
On 2 June 2010, it was announced that Cannavaro would move to UAE Football League side Al-Ahli on a free transfer after the 2010 World Cup. Cannavaro signed a two-year deal. He made 16 appearances for the Dubai club, with 2 goals. Cannavaro announced his retirement from football in July 2011 due to a serious knee problem; doctors had told him he could no longer play.
Fabio Cannavaro was appointed as a global brand ambassador and Technical Consultant of Al-Ahli Club of Dubai on 25 August 2011.
International career 
Cannavaro's first taste of international success came over in the mid-1990s under coach Cesare Maldini with Italy's under-21 side, winning two consecutive European Under-21 Championship titles in 1994 and 1996. In 1996, he participated also at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
He made his debut with the Italian national team on 22 January 1997, in a friendly game against Northern Ireland. The same year, he earned plaudits for his handling of England striker Alan Shearer in a World Cup qualifying game at Wembley. Shearer was then considered by the fiercely partisan English crowd to be the best striker in the world, and they thought he would make have fun with the unexperienced Italian defender. Nevertheless, in a dominant display that ranked him among the great Italian defenders such as Claudio Gentile and Franco Baresi, Cannavaro managed to keep Shearer quiet during the whole game. Italy won the game 1–0 thanks to a Gianfranco Zola goal.
Cannavaro's first international tournament came at 1998 World Cup under the mentorship of Giuseppe Bergomi, Alessandro Costacurta, and Paolo Maldini, the squad was coached by Paolo Maldini's father Cesare. Italy went out in the quarter-finals to hosts and eventual champions France; Cannavaro suffered a cut on his forehead from an elbow by Stéphane Guivarc'h but played the remainder of the match after receiving treatment. The Azzurri managed to push the game to a 0–0 draw but the match was decided by a penalty shoot-out in favour of the hosts after the teams were tied 0–0.
In Euro 2000, it was Les Bleus who once again shattered Italy's dreams. Cannavaro had a strong tournament, playing as centre-back alongside Alessandro Nesta, Mark Iuliano, or Paolo Maldini in 3–5–2 formation. The Azzurri reached the final, where they led the then world champions 1–0 going into injury time. Near the end of regular time, Sylvain Wiltord found the equalizer, and an extra-time golden goal from David Trezeguet gave France the title.
At the 2002 World Cup, he was credited with holding the defence together, almost single-handedly after Alessandro Nesta was injured against Croatia. The injury, along with several mistakes from match officials, dealt a severe blow to Italy's chances of winning the World Cup, as the side relied heavily on the Cannavaro-Nesta partnership in central defence. Marco Materazzi, who deputized for Nesta, proved to be an ill-fated choice with his nervous performances. Italy went out in the second round, losing to co-hosts and eventual semi-finalists South Korea, again to a golden goal.
Cannavaro had a hard act to follow when he took over as captain from Maldini after the 2002 World Cup, but he quickly won the team over with his constant smile, laid-back Neapolitan approach and inspiring performances. After Maldini's international retirement, he first captained Italy in a match in Naples and received a standing ovation on the pitch where he sported the local side's colours between 1991 and 1995.
Cannavaro's first international goal was scored on 30 May 2004 against Tunisia; Italy won 4–0. Euro 2004, which was hosted by Portugal, turned out to be a disappointment. Cannavaro picked up yellow cards during the two draws with Denmark (0–0) and Sweden (1–1), forcing him to sit out the final group game. Italy defeated Bulgaria 2–1, but failed to advance on goal difference.
2006 World Cup 
Cannavaro captained Italy throughout their 2006 World Cup campaign. One of his key performances came against hosts Germany in the World Cup Semi-Finals 2006. His crowning moment was lifting the World Cup on 9 July 2006, the night of his 100th cap. Cannavaro did not receive a single yellow or red card during the 690 minutes he played in the tournament. His defensive performance in the final earned him the nickname of "Wall of Berlin", as the final was played in Berlin.
Along with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, Cannavaro played every minute of every match in the tournament for Italy. Even with usual defensive partner Alessandro Nesta out due to injury, the Italian defence conceded only two goals throughout the entire tournament: an own-goal against the United States and a Zinedine Zidane penalty in the final against France.
With the injury of defensive partner Alessandro Nesta, Cannavaro somehow managed to hold the defense together, earning him a spot on the All-Star Team at the end of the competition—awarded by FIFA's Technical Study Group—alongside six other Italian teammates" Gianluigi Buffon, Francesco Totti, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Luca Toni, and Gianluca Zambrotta. He was runner-up in the race for the Golden Ball, finishing behind French counterpart Zinedine Zidane; it was a close contest with Zidane polling 2012 points to Cannavaro's 1977.
Euro 2008 
On 2 June 2008, Cannavaro was injured during Italy's first training session for Euro 2008. Cannavaro sustained the knock following a tackle by fellow defender Giorgio Chiellini and was carried off the field on a stretcher. Italy doctor Paolo Zeppilli said, "We have to do tests but it does not look like a minor injury." Tests had shown that he tore ligaments in his left ankle. Right after the examinations, Italian journalists awaited Cannavaro, who told them, "I'm going home," with a melancholic smile on his face. After the day was over, Roberto Donadoni called up Fiorentina centre-back Alessandro Gamberini as his official replacement. Alessandro Del Piero captained the team in his place. Cannavaro added he will stay with the squad to offer support. This would have been Cannavaro's third Euro tournament.
Cannavaro has also put his plans to retire from the national team after Euro 2008 on hold and added that it had made him more determined to captain Italy through the 2010 World Cup.
Record breaking caps 
In a 2009 Confederations Cup match against Brazil, Cannavaro equalled Paolo Maldini's record of being Italy's most capped player. On 12 August 2009, in a friendly match against Switzerland, Cannavaro became Italy's most capped player of all time. He won his 127th cap for his country, beating Maldini's former record of 126.
2010 World Cup 
Cannavaro captained Italy at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The defending champions crashed out of the competition losing to Slovakia after drawing against New Zealand and Paraguay. Following Italy's failure to progress past the group stage, Cannavaro announced his retirement from international football.
Personal life 
He married Daniela Arenoso (born 17 July 1974 in Naples) on 17 June 1996, they have three children, Christian (born 17 July 1999 in Naples), Martina (born 22 December 2001 in Naples), and Andrea (born 20 October 2004 in Naples).
His younger brother, Paolo, is also a defender who currently plays for Napoli. The two brothers played alongside each other at Parma from 2000 until 2002, when Fabio left for Inter. Before his retirement, Fabio had often expressed interest in ending his career with Paolo in a Napoli shirt.
With his fellow Napoletano Ciro Ferrara, Cannavaro has helped establish a charity foundation, Fondazione Cannavaro Ferrara, specialising in the procurement of cancer research equipment and surgery for special cases of cancer for a hospital in their native Naples.
The night before the 1999 UEFA Cup Final, a video tape was released which showed Cannavaro being injected with a substance. The substance was found to be neoton (phosphocreatine), which is used in cardiac surgery to protect the heart during periods of anoxia and stress. It is not on the banned substance list. This chemical is, in partnership with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), fundamental to the ability of the body to produce muscular energy. Phosphocreatine is formed naturally within the body, with over 95% of the compound stored within the muscle cells. Approximately 5 oz (120 g) of phosphocreatine is present in the body of a healthy adult; the levels of the compound do not fluctuate to a significant degree. When phosphocreatine stores become reduced, the body replenishes its supply from one of two sources. The first source is amino acids, the muscle- and tissue-building blocks present in all proteins. The liver produces phosphocreatine from amino acids. The body also receives dietary creatine primarily through the consumption of meat. No action was ever taken regarding this incident.
On 8 October 2009, Cannavaro failed a drug test. Juventus, however, claimed that the drugs were medicine for a severe allergic reaction to a wasp sting, and not performance-enhancing. Because of the urgent nature of the treatment, Cannavaro could not ask for permission to CONI in time, which was done immediately afterwards. Apparently while awaiting the conclusion of formalities involved for CONI with granting this permission, he was subjected to the drug test that eventually gave the positive result. CONI later dropped charges against him.
Career statistics 
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Europe||Total|
|2006–07||Real Madrid||La Liga||32||1||1||0||6||0||39||1|
|United Arab Emirates||League||President's Cup||Asia||Total|
|2010–11||Al-Ahli Dubai||UAE League||16||2||0||0||0||0||16||2|
|United Arab Emirates||16||2||0||0||0||0||16||2|
- Also played 3 (1995, 1999, 2005) Supercoppa Italiana games.
- Also played 2 (2007) Supercopa de España games where he scored 1 goal.
|Italy national team|
International goals 
|1.||30 May 2004||Radès, Tunisia||Tunisia||0–2||0–4||Friendly|
|2.||6 February 2008||Geneve, Switzerland||Portugal||2–0||3–1||Friendly|
- "Player Profile: Fabio Cannavaro". UEFA. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
- "Cannavaro quits Italy duty". Sky Sports. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
- "Real Madrid Player Profile". Real Madrid. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- "Family". CannAddicted.com.
- "Operations concerning players' registration rights" (PDF). Juventus Football Club. 31 August 2004.
- "Agreements with the Spanish club Real Madrid CF" (PDF). Juventus Football Club. 27 July 2006. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- "Juve confirm Cannavaro deal". Sky Sports. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- "The best foreign eleven in Real Madrid's history". Marca.com. 12 April 2013.
- "Italy & Juventus Defender Fabio Cannavaro: I Want Napoli, But They Don't Want Me". Goal.com. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- "Italy captain Cannavaro makes shock move to Dubai side Al Ahli". CNN International. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
- "Cannavaro retires from football on medical advice". USA Today. 9 July 2011.
- "Fabio Cannavaro starting as ambassador for Dubai-based club Al Ahli". Take Dubai.com. 25 August 2011.
- "Cannavaro profile". Wldcup.com. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
- "Euro 2004 Group C". BBC Sport. 25 May 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- "WAGS – Daniela Cannavaro, wife of Fabio Cannavaro". Total Football Madness. 29 July 2009.
- "Phosphocreatine". Faqs.org. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- "Cannavaro injection video troubles Italian sports executive". Yahoo! Sports. 29 April 2005. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- "Cannavaro in failed doping test". BBC Sport. 8 October 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- "Fabio Cannavaro". Football Database.eu. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- "Fabio Cannavaro league stats". Lega Serie A. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- "Fabio Cannavaro – Century of International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Fabio Cannavaro|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Fabio Cannavaro|
- Official website
- Fabio Cannavaro at Realmadrid.com
- Fabio Cannavaro – FIFA competition record
- Fabio Cannavaro – UEFA competition record
- Fabio Cannavaro at Football Lineups